We Had Just Come To Live
With The Bakwains When This Happened, And Sechele Consulted Me.
I Advised Mild Measures, But The Messengers He Sent To Kake
Were Taunted With The Words, "He Only Pretends To Wish To Follow
The Advice Of The Teacher:
Sechele is a coward; let him come and fight
if he dare." The next time the offense was repeated,
Sechele told me he was going to hunt elephants; and as I knew
the system of espionage which prevails among all the tribes,
I never made inquiries that would convey the opinion
that I distrusted them. I gave credit to his statement.
He asked the loan of a black-metal pot to cook with, as theirs of pottery
are brittle. I gave it and a handful of salt, and desired him
to send back two tit-bits, the proboscis and fore-foot of the elephant.
He set off, and I heard nothing more until we saw the Bakwains carrying home
their wounded, and heard some of the women uttering the loud wail of sorrow
for the dead, and others pealing forth the clear scream of victory.
It was then clear that Sechele had attacked and driven away the rebel.
Mentioning this to the commandant in proof of the impossibility of granting
his request, I had soon an example how quickly a story can grow
among idle people. The five guns were, within one month,
multiplied into a tale of five hundred, and the cooking-pot,
now in a museum at Cape Town, was magnified into a cannon;
"I had myself confessed to the loan." Where the five hundred guns came from,
it was easy to divine; for, knowing that I used a sextant,
my connection with government was a thing of course; and, as I must know
all her majesty's counsels, I was questioned on the subject of
the indistinct rumors which had reached them of Lord Rosse's telescope.
"What right has your government to set up that large glass at the Cape
to look after us behind the Cashan Mountains?"
Many of the Boers visited us afterward at Kolobeng, some for medical advice,
and others to trade in those very articles which their own laws
and policy forbid.
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